The Lavin Agency is a speakers bureau, based in New York City and Toronto. We exclusively represent leading thinkers, writers, and doers who inspire ideas and dialogue that make the world a better place.
“I dabble in modernity,” says legendary author Margaret Atwood on CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. Judging by her twitter following and her active participation in the development of new digital technologies, we think Atwood is being more than a little modest.
Salman Rushdie explains why prose literature—more so than movies, television, and theater—has historically been, and continues to be, at the forefront of opposition to tyranny. Though literature can survive tyranny, the writers behind the ideas seldom do. The question becomes: how can imaginative artists continue to tell the stories of their time without being assaulted, jailed, or worse.
Here’s Lev Grossman, along with author Ann Patchett, discussing this year’s lack of a Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction on PBS’s NewsHour. During the interview, he gives his support for the decision by paraphrasing Stan Lee:
The Pulitzer actually is very powerful, but I feel like that power depends on it being used responsibly. If they were to give it to a book that they didn’t feel was a great book, maybe it wouldn’t be as powerful in future years.
"I support the Pulitzer board’s decision not to give out an award for fiction this year…I’m saying this because I care deeply about the state of American fiction, to which I have devoted my whole career."
Lev Grossman, TIME’s Chief Book Critic, on the controversy surrounding the Pulitzer Prize jury’s decision not to award a fiction prize this year.
Today, The New York Times ran amajor feature on Lavin speaking agent Rachel Rosenfelt and her website, The New Inquiry. TNI has been “catching the eye of the literary elite” and “earning praise that sounds as extravagantly brainy as the thesis-like articles that [it] uploads every few days.” Here’s Jonathan Lethem, singing the praises of Rachel and her writers:
They’re the precursor of this kind of synthesis of extrainstitutional intellectualism, native to the Internet, native to the city dweller. They’re not trapped within an old paradigm. They’re just making it their own.
Lewis Lapham has compiled an Occupy Wall Street reading list that lends some historical perspective to the #OWS movement. As Lapham has reminded us in the past, via Goethe, “He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living hand to mouth.” Here’s his list:
American Colossus—H. W. Brands The Barbaric Heart—Curtis White The Relentless Revolution—Joyce Appleby Theory of the Leisure Class—Thorstein Veblen Folklore of Capitalism—Thurman Arnold The Big Short—Michael Lewis Merchant of Venice—William Shakespeare Rameau’s Nephew—Denis Diderot Age of Greed—Jeff Maddrick The Politicos—Matthew Joseph Are We Rome?—Cullen Murphy Letter to Commodore Vanderbilt, Letter to the Children Who Sit in Darkness—Mark Twain Money and Class in America—Lewis H. Lapham
Here’s a cool joint project from Lapham’s Quarterly, Tumblr, and The New Inquiry (and, oh yeah, you!) that may signal the arrival of a new model for online literary collaboration. (Lavin speaking agent Rachel Rosenfelt is founder of The New Inquiry).
Lapham’s Quarterly, The New Inquiry and Tumblr invite you to submit your favorite historical and literary finds all things “future” (for ex.) to be compiled as a special reader-created archive.
Selected passages will be published on Lapham’s Tumblr and top contributors in the New York area will be invited to join us for drinks and a live reading of the archive at The Future’s issue launch party.
"Something very important and very weird is happening to the book right now: It’s shedding its papery corpus and transmigrating into a bodiless digital form, right before our eyes. We’re witnessing the bibliographical equivalent of the rapture. If anything we may be lowballing the weirdness of it all."
Lev Grossman, writing in The New York Times, on the shift from paper to screen as the reader’s medium of choice.